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Yoga Sutra 2.15: Change

Sutra 2.15: The wise person (vivekinaḥ) understands that suffering (duḥkhaiḥ) occurs in all (sarvaṁ) living things due to constant change (pariṇāma), desire to repeat past experiences (tāpa), a conditioned mind set (saṁskāra) and the quality of change in nature (guṇa).

According to Pantajali, nature is always under the influence of the gunas.

That means that sometimes we will feel calm (sattva), sometimes we will feel anxiety (rajas), and sometimes we will feel unmotivated and low (tamas). This is the way the world is. And suffering comes because we are attached to certain sensations and avoiding others.

We don’t want things to change.

One of my favorite Elizabeth Gilbert quotes is,

“We all want things to stay the same. Settle for living in misery because we're afraid of change, of things crumbling to ruins. Then I looked at around to this place, at the chaos it has endured - the way it has been adapted, burned, pillaged and found a way to build itself back up again. And I was reassured, maybe my life hasn't been so chaotic, it's just the world that is, and the real trap is getting attached to any of it. Ruin is a gift. Ruin is the road to transformation.”

  • Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love).

Elizabeth Gilbert has made peace with the fact that life is always in fluctuation. Nothing stays the same. And everything in life will bring us pain. We have to make peace with that pain.

When we achieve a state of wisdom and knowledge around life, we start to understand that pain is part of the experience of being human. When we achieve that state, we can start to sit with pain and suffering, be present with pain and suffering - knowing that it too shall pass.

Asanas (poses) are just 1/8th of what we learn and study as students of yoga. These yoga sutra reflections that I post, the practice of meditation and breathwork - it’s all the rest of it. That’s what I mean when I finish all my sutra posts with, “This is yoga.”

Want to learn more about the Yoga Sutras?

Join Alex's next Masterclass on the Yoga Sutras. Sign up for the waitlist here.

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